6 Things You Won't Believe Got Banned from Modern Countries
Crafting the complex set of laws that separate humankind from the law of the jungle is no easy task for world governments, and we don't envy the job. But sometimes, these supposedly fully grown rulers of nations lose their shit and decide to just outright blanket ban absurd things for even more absurd reasons. For example ...
The UK Banned "Face-Sitting" in Porn
At the end of 2014, the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) decided that porn in the U.K. was a little too pornographic, and they revamped the rules to introduce a whole bunch of new restrictions on what British people are allowed to jerk off to. Some of the new bans make a kind of sense, like "role-playing as non-adults," because few people are going to argue society would be better off with more middle-aged people spanking each other in diapers. Strangulation, caning, and whipping are also off the porn menu, which is bad news for some, if you're into that kind of thing.
But then there are the more baffling restrictions -- for example, the new rules specifically forbid female ejaculation and, uh, face-sitting.
"Female orgasms killed my parents!"
Of course, regular old male ejaculation in porn is still kosher, if not virtually mandatory. British porn aficionados are still absolutely permitted to watch footage of a group of dudes icing some woman's face like a salty birthday cake. But the sight of a woman displaying similar symptoms of arousal is horrifying enough to put an immediate kibosh on that depravity quick smart.
Likewise, the malodorous practice of using someone else's face as a seat tends to be more associated with women's pleasure, being that you don't often see men engaging in face-sitting outside of the WWE. The BBFC's explanation for the ban is that the practice is "life-endangering." Of course, if you sit on your partner's face so hard that he begins to thrash about before ultimately falling limp, it's probably safe to assume that you didn't do that by accident.
Either that, or it's your ultimate fantasy (extremely NSFW)
The new rules have triggered a considerable backlash in the adult film industry, who tend to think that they're less to do with public safety and more the result of conservative old prudes trying to shove their moral agenda up everyone's ass -- an act which is not actually forbidden under the new guidelines.
Saudi Arabia Banned Pokemon as Zionist Propaganda
Look, we could probably list off a dozen appropriate reasons to ban the sale of Pokemon, not the least of which is that, let's face it, it's more or less a gateway drug to competitive dog fighting. But Saudi Arabia's specific beef against the Japanese video game and playing card franchise is one that never exactly occurred to us -- the fear that it encourages Zionism.
We can't be sure that we've ever known a child to sit down with a copy of Pokemon Blue and suddenly develop some controversial ideas about the State of Israel after using electroshock on a level-20 Hitmonlee, but that's the argument that Saudi Arabia used when its religious authority issued a fatwa, or religious ban, against the Pokemon line of products in 2001.
The mufti argue that based on the information and detailed research gathered by Saudi Arabia's Higher Committee for Scientific Research and Islamic Law, they have discovered that Pokemon games contain Jewish symbolism that can be used to twist young minds to the Zionist agenda, such as the Star of David:
The prophet Mohammed clearly states that septagons are the only permissible shape.
And just for good measure, they accused the cards of containing Freemason symbolism:
OK, that one is pretty weird.
Also, in case that sounds a little like batshit 19th century conspiracy theory, they also argue that it promotes gambling, because apparently kids in Saudi schoolyards have been caught trading Pokemon cards for real cash.
Nintendo released a statement promising that any Jewish and/or Freemason imagery found in Pokemon products was completely unintentional, but that they would investigate the issue anyway in case some dastardly Jewish caricature had infiltrated the company. The investigation almost certainly never took place, but Nintendo probably didn't feel entirely comfortable informing Saudi Arabia that they sounded like depression-era Germany.
"A thorough investigation of Jewish subterfuge within our Japanese company has concluded that you're bug-fuckingly insane."
Turkmenistan Outlawed Lip-Syncing
We've already detailed some of the crazy misadventures of the balls-to-the-wall insane former president of Turkmenistan, Saparmurat Atayevich Niyazov. The eccentric ruler, who gave himself the modest and somewhat medieval nickname "Great Leader of All Turkmen," ruled the country with a batshit crazy fist until his death in 2006. Among his edicts were to outlawing beards and banning news anchors from wearing makeup because he couldn't tell the male anchors from the females (possibly because they weren't allowed to grow beards).
The circus sideshow business took a real hit, too.
But in 2005, Niyazov turned his cartoonish supervillain eye toward modern society's greatest scourge: lip-syncing. According to the Great Leader of All Turkmen, performers who lip-sync to previously recorded music weren't just tacky, they were actively destroying culture, one poorly auto-tuned syllable at a time.
So he reasonably introduced a law completely banning the act of lip-syncing across the entire nation of Turkmenistan under any and all circumstances. It didn't matter whether it was a Katy Perry concert or a karaoke performance at a private wedding reception -- if you're on that stage, you better be singing it live, or else you'd get a late night visit from the national taste police.
Ashlee Simpson was convicted and sentenced to death in absentia.
Niyazov's reign of crazy came to an abrupt end in 2006 when he suffered a heart attack, and his office was handed over to the much more reasonable Gurbanguly Malikgulyyewic Berdimuhamedow ... oh Jesus, you're fucking with us, right? We're praying that this guy isn't crazy enough that we ever have to spell that again.
Turkey Banned Specific Letters of the Alphabet
Although around 20 percent of people living in Turkey are Kurdish, the country isn't exactly welcoming to this specific ethnic minority. The extent of the persecution is such that it's illegal in Turkey to speak the Kurdish language -- the bargain apparently being that Kurds are allowed to live in the country just as long as they're unable to communicate with each other.
But even banning the language wasn't extreme enough for the Turkish government. They actually established an official ban on any word containing the letters X, W, or Q, because these letters are more commonly used in the Kurdish language than in Turkish. Shit, if you're going to ban an entire language, overkill is apparently your safest option.
Wheel of Fortune just got a whole lot more intense, though.
If this sounds like a difficult ban to enforce anywhere outside of a downright Orwellian dystopia, you'd be right -- most people in Turkey don't bother policing their language to the degree that the government is comfortable with, or else everyone would need to whip out a pocket thesaurus to participate in every single day-to-day interaction. But that didn't stop the government from selectively enforcing it to make a point.
For example, in 2007, a lawsuit was brought against the mayor of one city after he had the audacity to wish his citizens a happy new year, but used the Kurdish spelling for new year "Nowruz" instead of the more PC Turkish spelling, "Nevruz." After being absurdly dragged through the courts, the case was eventually dropped, presumably after the mayor's solicitor presented evidence that this was in fact the 21st century, and they were actually living in Turkey, not North Korea.
"Objection! There is no proof that we are not in North Korea!"
"The defense calls its surprise witness: Carmen San Diego!"
Thankfully, the law was repealed in 2013 after almost 90 years, due to the fact that, fuck, come on now.
India Banned Toy Globes Due to a Border Dispute
In case you're not fully schooled on the specifics of obscure foreign border disputes, the region known as Kashmir in South Asia has long been the subject of some disagreement -- that is, both India and Pakistan believe they totally own it. And they're really sensitive about it.
And they have fought numerous battles over the region's massive strategic sweater reserves.
For example, if you don't want to have a table smashed over your head in a bar brawl in India, it would serve you well not to refer to Kashmir in any way that doesn't imply that it's fully Indian territory. And the faux pas goes all the way to the top, as evidenced by the debacle surrounding the sale of a brand of desktop globe models imported from China in 2004.
After taking home the Chinese-made novelties, Indians promptly flipped their shit upon discovering that the Kashmir region was shaded slightly differently than the rest of India, making the horrifying implication that it was anything but a wholly owned subsidiary of the Indian government. While you might imagine this resulted in some strongly worded letters, Indian authorities took the situation much more seriously, bringing the case of the insensitively shaded toy globe all the way to the High Court.
Which makes sense, in that they'd have to be high to think that was a reasonable course of action.
The court unanimously concluded that further sale and import of the politically very incorrect model was to be banned immediately, lest they corrupt the hearts and minds of the nation's children, and customs officials were reprimanded for allowing such an abomination into the country in the first place. And while you could argue that merely pointing out that a territory dispute exists is far from evil, you could also argue that it's not worth starting a nuclear war over a buck fifty worth of molded plastic.
The Belarus President Outlawed Applause
In 2011, the economy of Belarus was, at best, completely dicked to hell, and at worst, one step short of a Soylent Green situation. Citizens were losing their homes and livelihoods, and tensions were high enough that the resident dictator, Alexander Lukashenko, had to do some quick thinking to ensure the crowds didn't get out of control.
"Not a bad idea, but let's try to think of something between 'do nothing' and 'steamrollers with bricks on the pedal.'"
The theory was that he needed to ensure the growing number of protests didn't get too worked up, lest they might begin to channel their fervor into counterproductive activities like shoving his head into a guillotine, so he enacted strict laws that limited the enthusiasm of the people during official speaking engagements. One of them was a complete blanket ban on applause.
Apparently, some smartass protestors in Belarus got it into their heads to use clapping as a form of protest against the government, so Lukashenko made it law that nobody could clap at anything, from a statement by the president down to a puppy doing something adorable on funny home videos. The only caveat was that people were permitted to applaud war veterans. But like, only between 2 and 4 on a weekday during a full moon, probably.
And only with the proper Veteran Gratitude Dispersal permit.
And he was serious about it -- when things got out of hand, so to speak, during one protest, Lukashenko's government cited its anti-clapping laws as an excuse to round up thousands of people who defied his authority by slamming their meaty flesh-paws together.
Hilariously, one of the men who was arrested for applauding was able to put forward a pretty good defense in court -- he only had one arm, so proving his guilt should have simultaneously answered the age-old riddle about the sound of one hand clapping. Unfortunately for him, this wasn't quite good enough, and he was given a full fine under the anti-clapping laws, possibly because he could have conceivably achieved the same effect by vigorously slapping himself in the face.
Though really, what do you expect when dealing with a dude that looks 65 percent like old-man Hitler.
For more governments that lost their shit, check out 5 Government Programs That Backfired Horrifically and 4 Crazy Land Claims Actually Recognized By the Government.
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